Schoolchildren inspired in STEM by building planes

The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) joined forces with students across the country to inspire a new generation to become involved in a scheme to build planes in schools, in order to encourage children to learn about technology and engineering.

The scheme, “Schools Build-a-plane Challenge” was launched five years ago with the aim of doing just that; aiding students to learn about aerospace, physics, engineering, technology and maths by constructing a microlight plane.

The scheme was taken up by around eight schools nationwide, a lower than expected number, due to the sheer size of the project: the construction requires a large warehouse/lab to construct and house the plane and has taken several years for some of the schools.

The scheme was sponsored in conjunction with Boeing, who hoped to show the possibilities of a career in aerospace and flight; Britain has the second largest aerospace sector in the world.

The students’ work was presented in a DVD, launched at a reception at the Royal Aeronautical Society’s headquarters in central London on October 13.

Not only were the students encouraged to learn about STEM subjects during the project, but also project managing, PR, IT, media and marketing. Several of the students spoke of the leadership and communication skills the project had taught them, and the head start they felt they had been given over their peers in terms of knowledge in the subjects they covered.

The DVD showed the students journey from start to finish, and the huge effort they and their teachers put in, and also the volunteers from the RAeS who were with the teams from start to finish, bringing much needed expertise.

A teacher involved with the project, Emma Krzyszowski, a physics teacher at North East Wolverhampton Academy, added the project was a great way of getting a diverse group of students involved, lauding it particularly for showing girls can get involved in STEM as well.

The 30 minute video detailing the students’ endeavours is below: